EP0293289A2 - Wavelength independent coupler and method of manufacture thereof - Google Patents

Wavelength independent coupler and method of manufacture thereof Download PDF

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Publication number
EP0293289A2
EP0293289A2 EP19880401245 EP88401245A EP0293289A2 EP 0293289 A2 EP0293289 A2 EP 0293289A2 EP 19880401245 EP19880401245 EP 19880401245 EP 88401245 A EP88401245 A EP 88401245A EP 0293289 A2 EP0293289 A2 EP 0293289A2
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
fibers
coupler
cladding
core
characterized
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Withdrawn
Application number
EP19880401245
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP0293289A3 (en )
Inventor
Kevin L. Sweeny
Michael Corke
Kevin M. Schmidt
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Amphenol Corp
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Amphenol Corp
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/24Coupling light guides
    • G02B6/26Optical coupling means
    • G02B6/28Optical coupling means having data bus means, i.e. plural waveguides interconnected and providing an inherently bidirectional system by mixing and splitting signals
    • G02B6/2804Optical coupling means having data bus means, i.e. plural waveguides interconnected and providing an inherently bidirectional system by mixing and splitting signals forming multipart couplers without wavelength selective elements, e.g. "T" couplers, star couplers
    • G02B6/2821Optical coupling means having data bus means, i.e. plural waveguides interconnected and providing an inherently bidirectional system by mixing and splitting signals forming multipart couplers without wavelength selective elements, e.g. "T" couplers, star couplers using lateral coupling between contiguous fibres to split or combine optical signals
    • G02B6/2835Optical coupling means having data bus means, i.e. plural waveguides interconnected and providing an inherently bidirectional system by mixing and splitting signals forming multipart couplers without wavelength selective elements, e.g. "T" couplers, star couplers using lateral coupling between contiguous fibres to split or combine optical signals formed or shaped by thermal treatment, e.g. couplers

Abstract

The invention relates to a single mode fiber optic coupler which is wavelength independent and a method of manufacture thereof. The coupler comprises two single mode fibers (3a,3b) positioned side by side which are fused in a manner such that they taper down (7) into a substantially circular cross section coupling region (9) wherein the two cores of the fibers run therethrough. In its most preferred aspect to achieve wavelength independence, the fibers are selected to have indexes of refraction at the core which are sufficiently different such that uniform coupling throughout a broad range of light wavelengths is achieved.

Description

    Background of the Invention
  • This invention relates to a single mode optical fiber coupler capable of effecting substantially uniform coupling of light across a predetermined relatively broad range of wavelengths, as well as relating to the method of manufacture thereof.
  • It is desirable to employ single mode waveguides and coupling devices therefor because a straightforward light path is provided therein. Hereinafter the terms "waveguide" and "fiber" shall be used interchangeably and refer to the core of the fiber surrounded by its cladding. A single mode waveguide or fiber is understood to be a waveguide which conducts or can conduct only a single mode of light. Typically, these waveguides are glass fibers which are very small in diameter. Further, the size of the core of these fibers is in the order of 5-10 microns or less. This compares with the relatively large core size of multimode fibers which are typically in the order of at least 50 microns and typically about 50-200 microns. Accordingly, it can be appreciated that the manufacture of couplers for single mode fibers is a difficult undertaking since, because of the relatively small fiber size, it is relatively easy to destroy the waveguide path or core and/or detrimentally affect it resulting in increased losses in transmission, the result of which is highly undesirable in the case of single mode fibers.
  • In accordance with the disclosure of copending European Patent application no. EP 87 101 251.4, which disclosure is specifically incorporated by reference herein, there is disclosed a method of making single mode fiber optic couplers. Typically, the fiber optic couplers disclosed therein are those which are known as wavelength dependent fiber optic couplers. More specifically, by wavelength dependent is meant that the single mode couplers will operate to effect substantially uniform coupling between two fibers at very specific wavelengths, however, the results will be affected detrimentally if the wavelengths of the light being employed is varied from the specifically desired wavelength.
  • In the field of fiber optics, there are three wavelength ranges upon which coupling across the broad range must be effected. The first length is typically between 1200 nm - 1500 nm. This range is of special interest in present technology because it is employed in long haul communications. The other ranges are typically between 700-900 nm and 400-600 nm.
  • In the prior art, it has been desirable to make fused single mode couplers which are wavelength independent, such that a number of different wavelengths can be transmitted through the fiber with little or no loss over a broad range. For a discussion of wavelength dependence of fused couplers, see Electronics Letters, 13 March, 1986, volume 22, Number 6 "Wavelength Dependence of Fused Couplers".
  • In the past, there have been devised several schemes for fabricating fused couplers which yield devices having splitting ratios substantially independent of wavelength. One such scheme is discussed in Electronics Letters, 15 August, 1985, volume 21, number 17 "Wavelength-Flattened Fused Couplers". In this document, there is discussed a technique for fabricating fused couplers which yields devices having splitting ratios substantially independent of wavelength. The couplers are fabricated by using fibers of different diameter or profile, or by tapering one of two identical fibers more than the other. The devices are made by pretapering one fiber and then the tapered fibers were twisted with untapered fiber of constant diameter and the pairs heated and pulled to cause the fusing. A disadvantage with this process, however, is that it is difficult to taper one fiber and then hold the two fibers together to fuse since the fibers are fragile and can break. Further, because of the buffer on the fibers at the portions which are being held, there is a slippage effect and thus, reproductabilities with the process become difficult.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the invention, an improvement in a single mode coupler is provided. The single mode coupler is of the type wherein two single mode fibers are fused together to form a coupler which permits substantially uniform coupling of light over a predetermined frequency range of light between the two fibers. The improvement in accordance with the invention is to provide a wavelength independent coupler.
  • Wavelength independence is provided by having the fibers selected to have cores with respective indexes of refraction, one different from the other, with the difference being sufficient such that when the fibers are fused together as a coupler, substantially uniform coupling of light over a predetermined frequency range between the two fibers is achieved.
  • In a more specific aspect, partial etching of the cladding surrounding the fiber cores can be performed and then the fibers are heated to be fused, and are simultaneously stretched to achieve the resultant wavelength independent coupler.
  • Alternatively, instead of etching, the taper profile can be modified during fabrication to achieve results similar to those with etching.
  • In another aspect, the improvement in accordance with the invention relates to a method of making a single mode coupler of the type discussed above. The steps of the method include positioning predetermined portions of the two single mode fibers together such that their claddings are in contact, heating the fibers with a heat source over a predetermined portion thereof and moving the predetermined portions in a reciprocal motion across and in proximity to the heat source to cause the predetermined portions of the fibers to fuse together.
  • Axial tension is applied to the fused region to taper down from individual fibers into a reduced diameter region of predetermined shape wherein the fibers are fused into a unitary region. The improvement lies in that the fibers being fused are selected to have cores with respective different indexes of refraction, one different from the other, with the difference being sufficient such that when the fibers are fused together as a coupler there results a coupler capable of uniformly coupling light over a predetermined frequency range between the two fibers.
  • Although the wavelength independence is achieved, as contemplated herein, by having the cores of different indices of refraction, it is contemplated that similar results could be achieved by keeping the cores at the like indices of refraction and making the claddings one different from the other with respect to indices of refraction.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Having briefly described the invention, the features and other advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the detailed description set forth hereinafter made with reference to the attached drawings, wherein:
    • Figure 1 is a schematic side view of the coupler in accordance with the invention.
    • Figure 2a-2c are, respectively, cross-sectional views of the coupler of Figure 1 taken along lines AA, BB and CC.
    • Figure 3 is a schematic side view of a general coupler manufacturing arrangement in accordance with the invention.
    • Figures 4 and 5 show generally a sequence of steps involved in the manufacture of the coupler in accordance with the invention.
    • Figures 6-8 are graphs illustrating the coupling distribution of light in couplers in accordance with the invention, with figures 6 and 7 showing the results when a minimal amount etching is performed on the fibers prior to fusing them into a coupler.
    • Figures 9a-10b are schematic views of coupler taper and corresponding graphs illustrating coupling distribution achieved with respective tapers demonstrating optical performance achieved.
    DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE INVENTION
  • The single mode coupler, which is wavelength independent, in accordance with the invention, is generally illustrated in Figure 1. As can be seen therein, the coupler 1 consists of a fiber pair 3 comprised of two single mode fibers 3a and 3b. In the practice of the present invention, the fibers are selected such that the cores have slightly different indexes of refraction, one from the other. In these fibers, the core will also have a higher index of refraction than the cladding. Typically the fibers are conventional and are what are known as single mode fibers having an outer diameter at the cladding of 125 micron and a core diameter, for example in the case of fibers for use in the wavelength range of 400-600 nm, of typically 4 micron, in the case of a wavelength of about 800 nm, typically about 6 micron, and in the case of 1,300-1,500 nm, typically around 8-9 micron. For purposes of the invention, one fiber will have a core index of refraction different from the other. More specifically, assuming one index is set at 1.4627, the other index of refraction would be selected to fall within the range of about 1.4627-1.4636. In its most preferred aspect, the indexes would be set at about 1.4627 and 1.4636.
  • As shown in Figure 1, the fibers are fused together as will be discussed hereinafter, in a manner such that from an initial fused region 5, they taper down at tapered portion 7 into a unitary fusion zone 9 of predetermined length wherein the cross-section is such, as shown in Figures 2a-2c, that one can no longer identify the discrete fibers 3a and 3b. Instead, as shown in Figure 2c the unitary fusion zone 9 appears to be a discrete entity of predetermined length and of a substantially circular cross-section. Coupling occurs within this region 9, it is believed primarily by means of evanescent wave coupling which provides for uniform mode distribution between the two fibers. The cores of the two fibers pass through the reduced diameter zone 9.
  • The device for manufacturing the coupler is generally shown in Figure 3 as well as in Figures 4 and 5. Figures 4 and 5 also generally show the steps involved in the manufacture of the coupler.
  • As shown in Figure 3, the device for manufacturing the coupler generally includes a laser 15 which directs a laser beam 17 to a mirror 19 which redirects it onto the coupler pair 3. The beam passes through the coupler pair 3, which is spaced a predetermined distance of A from a ceramic member 13. Heating of the ceramic member 13 occurs which in turn indirectly heats the coupler pair 3 to cause the fusing. All of the elements of the device are not shown in Figure 3 and some have been omitted for the sake of clarity in illustration.
  • As shown in Figures 4 and 5, initially the beam 17 passes through the coupler pair 3 and heats a ceramic member 13. The coupler pair is held together by gripper 23 and the ceramic member 13 is supported on a block 11. Sliding members 21, upon which the coupler pair of fibers 3a and 3b is held, are reciprocated in a back and forth motion over and through the ceramic member 13 to cause fusion or fusing of the fiber pair 3 over a predetermined length portion. As shown in Figure 5, once fusing of the fiber pair occurs, the sliding members 21 apply an axial tension outwardly to the fused pair to stretch the fibers and cause creation of a tapered region which projects into a predetermined length small diameter region 9 as shown in Figures 1 and 4b to result in the coupler. Throughput of light is measured while the coupler is being manufactured. When almost a state of desired coupling is reached, the process is terminated and the coupler allowed to cool and removed from the device.
  • Actual experimental results as to coupling across a broad range of wavelengths is shown in the attached Figures 6-8. For purposes of testing, measurement of light distribution was conducted on couplers made from one fiber having a core index of a refraction of 1.4636 with the other fiber having a core index of refraction 1.4627. Figure 6 shows the distribution along wavelengths ranging from 1,200 nm to 1,600 nm.
  • In one preferred aspect of the invention to improve coupling distribution, it is preferable to etch down the cladding to certain levels as shown in Figure 7. Typically etching down to about 75-85 micron will give optimum results. However, as a trade off, since the smaller the fiber, the more difficult to handle, results of similar quality to 75-85 micron are achieved with etching to 100 micron, more preferably 105. Results in Figure 7 are provided with cladding of the fibers etched down from an outer diameter of the fiber of 125 micron to a value of 105 micron. In Figure 8 the results are shown with cladding etched down to 100 micron.
  • Alternatively, as shown in Figures 9a-10b, coupling performance can be achieved by varying coupler taper profile instead of etching.
  • As to the fibers themselves, these are preferably SiO₂ with the variations in index of refraction achieved conventionally by having doping of the cores, typically with GeO₂. Of course other equivalent and commercially available single mode fibers not limited to the above materials can be employed as will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in this art.

Claims (13)

1. A single mode coupler of a type wherein two single mode fibers are fused together to form a coupler which permits substantially uniform coupling of light over a predetermined wavelength range of light between the two fibers, characterized in that said fibers (3a,3b) are selected to have cores with respective indexes of refraction one different from the other, with the difference being sufficient such that when said fibers are fused together as a coupler, said substantially uniform coupling of light over a predetermined wavelength range, between the two fibers is achieved.
2. A coupler as in claim 1 characterized in that said fibers have an outer diameter at the edge of the cladding of about 125 micron and a core diameter of about 8 micron, the cladding and core being of glass and at least one of the cladding and core being doped to result in a fiber wherein the core has a higher index of refraction than the cladding.
3. A coupler as in claim 2 characterized in that said glass is SiO₂.
4. A coupler as in claim 3 characterized in that the SiO₂ core is doped with GeO₂ to achieve the difference in index of refraction between core and cladding.
5. A coupler as in claim 4 characterized in that the index of refraction of the cladding of the two fibers is about 1.46 and the index of refraction of the core of one of the fibers is about 1.4627 and of the other fiber is about 1.4636, and wherein the predetermined wavelength range of coupled light wavelengths is about 1200-1600 nm.
6. A coupler as in claim 2 characterized in that prior to fusing the fibers together the cladding of the fibers have been etched down such that the fibers have an outer diameter of no less than about 85-105 micron.
7. A coupler as in any one of claims 3 to 5 characterized in that prior to fusing the fibers together the cladding of the fibers have been etched down such that the fibers have an outer diameter of no less than about 105 micron.
8. A method of making a single mode coupler of the type wherein two single mode fibers are fused together forming a coupler which permits substantially uniform coupling of light over a predetermined wavelength range of light between the two fibers, the method including the steps of positioning predetermined portions of the two single mode fibers together such that their claddings are in contact, heating the fibers with a heat source over a predetermined portion thereof and moving the predetermined portions in a reciprocal motion across and in proximity to the heat source to cause said predetermined portions of the fibers to fuse together, and applying axial tension to said fused region to taper down from individual fibers into a reduced diameter region of predetermined shape, wherein the fibers are fused into a unitary region, characterized in that the fibers to be fused are selected to have cores with respective indexes of refraction, one different from the other, with the difference being sufficient such that when said fibers are fused together as a coupler there results a coupler capable of uniformly coupling light over a predetermined wavelength range between the two fibers.
9. A method as in claim 8 characterized in that said fibers have an outer diameter at the edge of the cladding of about 125 micron and a core diameter of about 8 micron, the cladding and core being of glass and one of the cladding and core being doped to result in a fiber wherein the core has a higher index of refraction than the cladding.
10. A method as in claim 9 characterized in that said glass is SiO₂.
11. A method as in claim 10 characterized in that the SiO₂ core is doped with GeO₂ to achieve the difference in index of refraction between core and cladding.
12. A method as in claim 11 characterized in that the index of refraction of the cladding of the two fibers is about 1.46 and the index of refraction of the core of one of the fibers is about 1.4627 and of the other fiber is about 1.4636, and wherein the predetermined wavelength range of coupled light wavelengths is about 1200-1600 nm.
13. A method as in any one of claims 9 to 12 characterized in that prior to fusing the fibers together the cladding of the fibers are etched down such that the fibers have an outer diameter of no less than about 105 micron.
EP19880401245 1987-05-21 1988-05-20 Wavelength independent coupler and method of manufacture thereof Withdrawn EP0293289A3 (en)

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US53292 1987-05-21
US07053292 US4822126A (en) 1987-05-21 1987-05-21 Wavelength independent coupler and method of manufacture thereof

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EP0293289A2 true true EP0293289A2 (en) 1988-11-30
EP0293289A3 true EP0293289A3 (en) 1988-12-14

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WO1990008968A1 (en) * 1989-01-27 1990-08-09 Aster Corporation Wide band coupler
EP0382461A2 (en) * 1989-02-07 1990-08-16 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation Guided-wave optical branching components and optical switches
EP0416603A2 (en) * 1989-09-08 1991-03-13 kabelmetal electro GmbH Quartz-glassfibre fusion-coupler
EP0416537A2 (en) * 1989-09-06 1991-03-13 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Optical fiber coupler
EP0425014A1 (en) * 1989-10-24 1991-05-02 PIRELLI CAVI S.p.A. Amplifier for optical fiber telecommunication lines and optical fiber telecommunication lines incorporating said amplifier
EP0431311A2 (en) * 1989-12-08 1991-06-12 Corning Incorporated Achromatic fiber optic coupler and method of making it
EP0432421A2 (en) * 1989-12-08 1991-06-19 Corning Incorporated Chlorine-doped optical component
WO1992011552A1 (en) * 1990-12-17 1992-07-09 Aster Corporation Optical fiber couplers and methods of their manufacture
EP0519440A2 (en) * 1991-06-18 1992-12-23 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Process for producing an optical fiber coupler
US5459804A (en) * 1993-04-06 1995-10-17 Porta Systems Corporation Fiberoptic couplers having spacer fibers that have no optical cores
US5680495A (en) * 1996-07-12 1997-10-21 Bloom; Cary Fiber optic device sealed by compressed metal seals and method for making the same
US5764348A (en) * 1996-10-01 1998-06-09 Bloom; Cary Optical switching assembly for testing fiber optic devices
US5805757A (en) * 1996-12-10 1998-09-08 Bloom; Cary Apparatus and method for preserving optical characteristics of a fiber optic device
US5815619A (en) * 1996-12-10 1998-09-29 Bloom; Cary Fiber optic connector hermetically terminated
US5871559A (en) * 1996-12-10 1999-02-16 Bloom; Cary Arrangement for automated fabrication of fiber optic devices
US5917975A (en) * 1996-12-10 1999-06-29 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for, and method of, forming a low stress tight fit of an optical fiber to an external element
US5931983A (en) * 1996-09-24 1999-08-03 Bloom; Cary Method of forming a fiber optic coupler by dynamically adjusting pulling speed
US5971629A (en) * 1996-07-12 1999-10-26 Bloom; Cary Apparatus and method bonding optical fiber and/or device to external element using compliant material interface
US6000858A (en) * 1996-07-12 1999-12-14 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for, and method of, forming a low stress tight fit of an optical fiber to an external element
US6074101A (en) * 1996-12-10 2000-06-13 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for, and method of, forming a low stress tight fit of an optical fiber to an external element

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WO1990008968A1 (en) * 1989-01-27 1990-08-09 Aster Corporation Wide band coupler
US4997248A (en) * 1989-01-27 1991-03-05 Aster Corporation Wide band coupler
EP0382461A3 (en) * 1989-02-07 1991-11-27 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation Guided-wave optical branching components and optical switches
EP0382461A2 (en) * 1989-02-07 1990-08-16 Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation Guided-wave optical branching components and optical switches
EP0416537A2 (en) * 1989-09-06 1991-03-13 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Optical fiber coupler
US5129020A (en) * 1989-09-06 1992-07-07 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Wavelength selective optical fiber coupler
EP0416537A3 (en) * 1989-09-06 1991-07-24 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Optical fiber coupler
EP0416603A2 (en) * 1989-09-08 1991-03-13 kabelmetal electro GmbH Quartz-glassfibre fusion-coupler
EP0416603A3 (en) * 1989-09-08 1991-07-24 Kabelmetal Electro Gmbh Quartz-glassfibre fusion-coupler
EP0425014A1 (en) * 1989-10-24 1991-05-02 PIRELLI CAVI S.p.A. Amplifier for optical fiber telecommunication lines and optical fiber telecommunication lines incorporating said amplifier
EP0432421A2 (en) * 1989-12-08 1991-06-19 Corning Incorporated Chlorine-doped optical component
EP0431311A2 (en) * 1989-12-08 1991-06-12 Corning Incorporated Achromatic fiber optic coupler and method of making it
EP0431311A3 (en) * 1989-12-08 1992-06-03 Corning Incorporated Achromatic fiber optic coupler and method of making it
EP0432421A3 (en) * 1989-12-08 1992-07-08 Corning Incorporated Chlorine-doped optical component
WO1992011552A1 (en) * 1990-12-17 1992-07-09 Aster Corporation Optical fiber couplers and methods of their manufacture
US5195151A (en) * 1990-12-17 1993-03-16 Aster Corporation Optical fiber couplers and methods of their manufacture
EP0519440A2 (en) * 1991-06-18 1992-12-23 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Process for producing an optical fiber coupler
EP0519440A3 (en) * 1991-06-18 1993-06-23 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Process for producing an optical fiber coupler
EP0749025A1 (en) * 1991-06-18 1996-12-18 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Process for producing an optical fiber coupler
US5309536A (en) * 1991-06-18 1994-05-03 Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. Process for producing an optical fiber coupler
US5459804A (en) * 1993-04-06 1995-10-17 Porta Systems Corporation Fiberoptic couplers having spacer fibers that have no optical cores
US5680495A (en) * 1996-07-12 1997-10-21 Bloom; Cary Fiber optic device sealed by compressed metal seals and method for making the same
US6000858A (en) * 1996-07-12 1999-12-14 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for, and method of, forming a low stress tight fit of an optical fiber to an external element
US5971629A (en) * 1996-07-12 1999-10-26 Bloom; Cary Apparatus and method bonding optical fiber and/or device to external element using compliant material interface
US6244756B1 (en) 1996-07-12 2001-06-12 Cary Bloom Apparatus and method bonding optical fiber and/or device to external element using compliant material interface
US5931983A (en) * 1996-09-24 1999-08-03 Bloom; Cary Method of forming a fiber optic coupler by dynamically adjusting pulling speed
US6112555A (en) * 1996-09-24 2000-09-05 Bloom; Cary Method for changing incident heat and pulling of an optic fiber via monitoring of rate of change of coupling ratio
US5948134A (en) * 1996-09-24 1999-09-07 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for forming a fiber optic coupler by dynamically adjusting pulling speed and heat intensity
US6018965A (en) * 1996-09-24 2000-02-01 Bloom; Cary Method of forming a fiber optic coupler by dynamically adjusting pulling speed and heat intensity based on a monitored rate of change in the coupling ratio
US5764348A (en) * 1996-10-01 1998-06-09 Bloom; Cary Optical switching assembly for testing fiber optic devices
US5871559A (en) * 1996-12-10 1999-02-16 Bloom; Cary Arrangement for automated fabrication of fiber optic devices
US5815619A (en) * 1996-12-10 1998-09-29 Bloom; Cary Fiber optic connector hermetically terminated
US5999684A (en) * 1996-12-10 1999-12-07 Bloom; Cary Apparatus and method for preserving optical characteristics of a fiber optic device
US5917975A (en) * 1996-12-10 1999-06-29 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for, and method of, forming a low stress tight fit of an optical fiber to an external element
US6074101A (en) * 1996-12-10 2000-06-13 Bloom; Cary Apparatus for, and method of, forming a low stress tight fit of an optical fiber to an external element
US5805757A (en) * 1996-12-10 1998-09-08 Bloom; Cary Apparatus and method for preserving optical characteristics of a fiber optic device
US5970749A (en) * 1996-12-10 1999-10-26 Bloom; Cary Arrangement for automated fabrication of fiber optic devices

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Publication number Publication date Type
EP0293289A3 (en) 1988-12-14 application
JPH02167506A (en) 1990-06-27 application
CA1320371C (en) 1993-07-20 grant
US4822126A (en) 1989-04-18 grant

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